Learning the economics of couponing
by Kory Stone/Business Manager
The popular phrase “makin’ that paper” is one used to describe earning income. Though today many people are also “cuttin’ that paper” to supplement “makin’” it. Couponing has taken quite the rise since both the 2008 economic recession and the 2010 TLC show “Extreme Couponing” aired. It has even gotten to the point where the show was blamed for the rise in newspaper thefts. According to Lisa Reynolds, RedPlum’s Mom Saver-in-chief, “Today’s savers are relying on behaviors learned during recessionary times that have become a part of everyday life.” There was even a survey conducted by RedPlum in which out of 23,000 shoppers, 96 percent of the respondents who couponed said they would still use coupons even in the case of a big lottery win. This may be a reflection of how value-minded people are becoming since the onset of the recession. The survey also states that the majority of the savings used from coupons are going toward paying down debt, long-term savings and an emergency fund – all things which any finical advisor would say is smart. Couponing seems to be the highest among stay at home spouses or parents in the lower to middle income bracket; but is also seeing a rise in teens between the ages of 13-17. Some parents even use incentives to get children to help out with the work involved in couponing and grocery shopping, such as by giving them an allowance off it or to put it towards college tuition.
To get started is going to require patience and an ability to adapt. Extreme couponing is a cumulative process and takes a bit of preparation and willingness to change buying habits. To really be efficient in time and savings is going to require adjusting what one is willing to buy. That means, within reason, only buying the products on sale or that have coupons for them and buying in bulk when possible. But it also does not have to be an all or nothing practice. Any savings are better than none if it is worth the time. So for some, even employing only some of the techniques will still add up to savings. One can keep an eye out for coupons and sales through a couple mediums: the newspaper, magazines, online and through the radio. Local student Tosha Beard, who just started couponing, likes to use “Favado”, an application for your phone which promises to help save up to 70% on groceries. Former student Brandon Baston has been extreme couponing for over two years and has mastered the art of it. In one instant last year he bought a total of 82 items and taking advantage of price matching and coupons, was able to walk out with an extra $10.99 on top of the items. He says it’s about planning and being strategic when shopping.